Apple Arcade’s The Last Campfire game carries a message of light and hope during the pandemic – CNET

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Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

The Last Campfire joined Apple Arcade's growing catalog of over 130 games on Thursday. It's the story of a lost creature named Ember, who goes on an unexpected adventure. It's the latest from developer Hello Games, best known for the sprawling space epic No Man's Sky.

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Apple/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Ember embarks on a sacred journey to find meaning and get home, along the way encountering other creatures who are also lost, but in different ways. To help them, Ember must return hope to The Forlorn by solving puzzles and exploring strange ancient ruins.

Steven Burgess, designer at Hello Games, told CNET that The Last Campfire was born from childhood memories of exploring the woods behind his house. Burgess also tried to explore the gray area between childhood games and adult games to create a more sharable storybook adventure. 

This is one of Apple Arcade's more serious games, exploring topics like sadness, change, fear of the unknown, helping others and making the choice to be selfless. Burgess called the game's tone "gentle optimism." This seems especially poignant during the pandemic we're all suffering through.

"Like any good folktale, however, we hope we have left the interpretation of the story and the message very open," Burgess said. "We'd like to think that it is as much about what the player brings to the game as the game brings to them." 

The game's ambient world is gorgeous as well -- whether you play in normal mode, or in explore mode, which removes most of the puzzles. If you enjoyed Apple Arcade's The Enchanted World, this game is definitely worth checking out. 

"Hopefully the overriding message of 'finding hope in a hopeless world' is something we can all take solace and meaning from," Burgess said.

Check out the trailer here:

With Apple Arcade's release last September, Apple firmly staked its claim in the mobile gaming world. The subscription gaming service costs $4.99 (£4.99, AU$7.99) a month and lets you play more than 130 new and exclusive games across the iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod Touch and Apple TV.

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